Carper, Blunt Rochester Lead Delawareans in Celebrating Passage of Critical Shoreline Protection and Water Infrastructure Law
BOWERS BEACH, Del. – U.S. Senator Tom Carper, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (both D-Del.), today led Delaware state and local leaders in celebrating the enactment of the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA 2022), legislation that contains major wins for Delaware.
In addition to authorizing much-needed investments in projects and programs of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in Delaware and across the country, WRDA 2022 includes major provisions from the Shoreline Health Oversight, Restoration, Resilience, and Enhancement (SHORRE) Act, which Senator Carper and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester introduced earlier this year.
“Protecting our beautiful coastline and maintaining our ports and waterways are vital to our economic well-being in Delaware,” said Senator Carper, who co-authored the bill. “In the Water Resources Development Act of 2022, we secured much-needed investments in our state’s water infrastructure and provisions to make our low-lying state more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Importantly, we made it easier for historically disadvantaged and under-resourced communities in the First State to benefit from this critical work. This bipartisan legislation is going to make Delaware a better place to work and live. I’m grateful to Congresswoman Blunt Rochester, Senator Coons, and leaders across our state for their support in crafting this legislation.”
“Delaware’s coastline and waterways are a source of pride and prosperity for the First State, but as the nation’s lowest-lying state, we face increasing threats from climate change and severe weather events,” said Senator Coons. “Thankfully, the investments in WRDA 2022 protect Delaware’s water infrastructure while prioritizing economically disadvantaged communities and strengthening our state’s resilience. I applaud Chairman Carper and my colleagues in the House and Senate for passing this important legislation.”
“There are few bills that I can think of that we consider in Congress with a more direct and consequential impact than the Water Resources Development Act. From making our shorelines more resilient in the face of the climate crisis, our communities less susceptible to flooding and erosion, and our economy more competitive by investing in our ports and preserving jobs – a strong WRDA helps create a strong Delaware,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “I’m particularly proud to have worked with Chairman Carper to secure key provisions from the SHORRE Act, which we co-authored, in this year’s WRDA, to help make our coastal communities more resilient, resourceful, and ready to tackle the impacts of climate change. Those provisions will ensure we are taking a comprehensive and strategic approach in addressing rising sea levels, extreme weather, flooding, and erosion. Working with Senators Carper and Coons, I’m proud to say we’ve, once again, delivered for Delaware.”
“Our beaches and coastal towns are priceless assets to our state. With the passage of WRDA, the State of Delaware will be able to build up an even stronger defense against climate change. Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Carper, Senator Coons, and Rep. Blunt Rochester, many more generations will be able to enjoy our precious natural resources,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “It gives our local communities access to more affordable shoreline protection measures and provides broader authority to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for emergency repairs. All of this will help protect and grow our economy by ensuring that families and businesses are better protected from the increasing effects of climate change.”
“This landmark legislation championed by Senator Carper establishes shoreline and riverbank protection and restoration as a primary mission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and establishes Delaware as a priority area for carrying out that mission,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “WRDA also enables DNREC to build on our longstanding partnership with the Corps with a new toolbox that will help protect our coastline and to be better prepared to confront the challenges of climate change – along with making investments in municipal infrastructure in all three counties and prioritizing equity to assist disadvantaged communities statewide.”
“Nature can be a powerful tool for solving the challenges facing our coasts, waterways, ecosystems and communities,” said The Nature Conservancy DE/PA chapter Executive Director Lori Brennan. “The Nature Conservancy is glad to see that nature-based solutions are central to this legislation as an effective approach for managing flooding, storm surge, drought and other impacts. Thank you to Sen. Carper for his leadership in developing the SHORRE Act and leading the way with the WRDA legislation. With the full support of the Delaware delegation, Sen. Coons and Rep. Blunt Rochester, this legislation is an important step forward.”
HOW WRDA 2022 WILL BENEFIT DELAWARE:
Protects Delaware’s beaches and shorelines from the threat of climate change by:
- Updating the Corps’ emergency authorities to provide greater support to Delaware’s beaches following hurricanes, Nor’easters, and other damaging storms.
- Expanding existing programs to fast-track the development and construction of shoreline, riverbank, and streambank protection and restoration projects in Delaware.
- Making shoreline protection more affordable for the Bay Beaches.
Improves water resource academic research in Delaware by:
- Authorizing the Corps to enter into contracts, cooperative agreements, grants, and other transactions with the University of Delaware to conduct academic research on areas including water resource ecology, water quality, aquatic ecosystem restoration, coastal restoration research, and water resource-related emergency management.
- Invests in municipal environmental infrastructure programs in Delaware by:
- Authorizing individual environmental infrastructure programs supporting drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure for Kent County, Sussex County, and New Castle County at $35 million each.
Prioritizes equity in the Corps’ Civil Works Program by:
- Lowering project costs for shoreline, riverbank, and streambank protection and restoration in economically disadvantaged communities.
- Establishing a new Tribal and Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Committee to help the Corps more effectively deliver projects, programs, and other assistance to Tribes and economically disadvantaged communities.
- Creating a new Corps workforce development and STEM outreach program with priority given to economically disadvantaged communities.
- Authorizing the Corps to waive the cost of technical assistance for economically disadvantaged communities.
Click here for more in-depth background information on how WRDA 2022 is delivering for Delaware.